A Student’s Perspective on Engagement in Ecological Research during their First Semester in College

Document Type

Research Poster

Publication Date



Pepperdine University and Whittier College jointly initiated a new first-year seminar series in the fall of 2016 that engaged students in authentic research, their first semester on campus. The goals are listed below. Assessment of these goals included both qualitative focus groups and quantitative survey questionnaires administered by an outside assessment agency, WestEd.org.

Ninety-two percent of students reported that their first-year seminar improved learning in concurrent courses and ninety to ninety-three percent of students said their first-year seminar increased their interest in STEM. In addition, students self-reported a significant improvement in all aspects of their ability to plan and conduct research, in their ability to synthesize scientific information and collaborate on scholarly research projects, and broadened their perspective on careers in science. Students at both Pepperdine University and Whittier College regarded all components of the seminar in a largely positive fashion. Students expressed that their seminar was more student-driven and experiential in nature than other courses, a difference unanimously viewed as positive.

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